ELKHART — A lively crowd packed the Northern Indiana Event Center's ballroom Saturday night, April 12, where Elkhart native and Broncos wide receiver Nathan Palmer performed songs from his debut EP, “R.I.P. 2 my Heart.”
Palmer's concert in Elkhart was the first since the release of the EP he has worked on for the past few years and recorded over the last year.
The event was part of the Michiana Music Conference, an event for anyone interested in becoming part of the music industry.
David Gary, who helped organize the conference, said he hopes it becomes an annual event. He said it was encouraging to to see the turnout for the workshop, which was held earlier in the day; about 20 people attended the workshops.
Endesha Bonner grew up across the street from where Palmer lived, and they were close friends, he said. Palmer called Bonner, Renee Robinson and other friends with the idea of collaborating at the music conference.
"I thought the opening acts were really good," he said. "These guys are talented, and this goes back to how Nate is as a person, because he could have just done the show himself, but he allowed these guys to show what they could do and get their shine on at the same time. I think they are great artists. I hope this helps them further their career as they move on in their music."
Growing up with Palmer, Bonner saw the motivation that kept his friend going forward in achieving his goals.
"The thing that stands out to me most about Nate is even as a young kid he had drive," he said. "If his brother or dad weren't around, he would ask me to throw the ball across the yard so he could play catch. If I couldn't do it, you would see him throwing the football at himself. So I guess it's his drive, his vision and passion. I'm extremely proud of the person, the man, he's becoming."
The concert, which started at 8 p.m., featured performances by Quinton Clarkson, Swade, Corey Ronnell, Stuckeyboy with Ball Team and Mercury.
Audrie Pressler, who grew up in Elkhart and went to high school with Palmer, said she drove from Fort Wayne to meet with some friends and attend the concert. Friends and family of Palmer's were there to show their support.
"I would use the word 'live' for this show," she said. "(Elkhart is) a small city. I think it's very important to come out and show support."
Leatra "DD" Scott attended the workshop Saturday morning, and also attended the concert. She was born and raised in Elkhart, and has a degree in marketing and music.
Scott and her friends, Devonae Hunt and Carey Moreno, said they grew up with Palmer and were there to support him. They also knew some of the local artists that opened the show.
Proceeds from the show will go to the Napalm Football Camp, a summer program for children that Palmer started in 2013.
"He truly has love for the city," Bonner said. "He doesn't only want do things for himself, but he wants to bring and share light on all the great things Elkhart has to offer."